It has been a busy and rewarding week here on my little patch of heaven.
We ventured along fence rows to pluck the last autumn olive berries and spice bush berries.
The autumn olive berries will be cooked and dehydrated for fruit leather and the spice bush berries dried and ground for seasoning.
The week ended with our long-time friend Ray Davis, an Owensville, Ohio resident, bringing us a huge load of horse manure for our gardens. This “black gold” will continue to age happily through winter, ready to be spread on vegetable and herb gardens in spring.
I’m making a pot of chicken chili for Ray as a way of saying thanks. Using a deli-roasted chicken gives me a head start.
What I like about chili is it’s subjective — a basic recipe can be augmented to the cook’s taste.
This chicken chili recipe can be more, or less, spicy. More, or less, creamy.
It calls for black and cannellini beans. That doesn’t mean you can’t sub in great northern, kidney or pinto. See where I’m going here? Get creative. Just remember, you can always add more flavor, but you can’t take away. For example, to lessen the heat of hot peppers, remove pith and seeds. Or leave them out and serve alongside.
The chili freezes well so make it now for your Halloween party.
Keep warm in slow cooker. Serve in mugs or bowls.
White lightning chicken chili
The “lightning” comes from hot pepper. Make this as tame, or as spicy, as you like.
As chili cooks, chicken breaks into small pieces.
1 pound deli-roasted or skinless, boneless cooked chicken, cut into largish pieces (about 4 cups)
1 nice onion, diced, 2 cups
1 bell pepper, diced
2-3 teaspoons garlic, minced
1 small can diced green chilies, mild or hot
2 teaspoons cumin
1-1/2 teaspoons oregano
1 teaspoon coriander (optional but good)
1 can black beans, drained, rinsed and drained again
2 cans cannellini beans, drained but not rinsed
8-12 oz frozen corn, thawed, or canned, drained
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and cayenne pepper to taste
Fresh hot pepper, diced very small (optional)
Garnish choices: Mexican, cheddar or favorite cheese, sliced peppers, sour cream, guacamole, avocado, green salsa, cilantro, lime wedges
Film a pot with olive oil, heat over medium and stir in onion, bell pepper and garlic.
Cook until onions soften.
Add canned chilies, cumin, oregano and coriander. Cook a few minutes to blend flavors.
Add beans, corn, broth and chicken. Bring to boil, lower to simmer and cook 15 minutes or so. If you want, mash some of the beans for creamier chili.
Stir in salt, pepper/peppers.
Simmer a few more minutes, adjust seasonings and serve with garnishes alongside.
Serves 6-8 easily.
Make it extra creamy
Chunk up 4 oz cream cheese and add it with beans.This gives it enough time to smooth out.
Punch up flavor:
Add a teaspoon or more chili powder blend.